HOW QUICKLY can it turn for North Melbourne?

After playing a key role in the Demons' transformation from perennial disappointments to premiers, the Kangaroos' first-year football boss Dan McPherson has seen just how rapidly things can change in football.

McPherson arrived at Melbourne when the club was a four-win team in 2014. He left having helped it lift the premiership cup aloft last season, with Simon Goodwin's side emphatically snapping a 57-year flag drought.

Now, in McPherson's maiden campaign at Arden Street, the Kangaroos are hardly going much better than those Demons sides of yesteryear. They find themselves with just one win in 12 after last Saturday's 10-goal loss to the Suns at TIO Stadium.

North Melbourne players look on after the round 12 clash against Gold Coast at TIO Stadium on May 4, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

But, while the rebuild might seem slow and painful now, there are some similarities in the frustrating and non-linear patterns of development between the two Victorian clubs and their journeys.

"It's a very simplistic way to look at it, but at the same time there are a lot of similarities here to what Melbourne was like seven or eight years ago," McPherson told AFL.com.au from the team's hotel in Darwin over the weekend.

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"Melbourne was coming from a long way back and, similarly, so are we. But it's all about getting good people in and getting them in the right roles. We want to get them to concentrate on doing their role really well, and that's on and off the field.

"If you can get everyone doing their role to the best of their ability, you start to slowly make some steps forward. As we've seen with Melbourne and with Brisbane and with Carlton more recently, once it does start to turn it can turn quite quickly. But, at the same time, there are going to be some growing pains along the way."

Nathan Jones leads Melbourne off the field after losing to North Melbourne in R23, 2014. Picture: AFL Photos

North Melbourne's growing pains have been extremely evident recently. The side has now lost 10 straight matches by an averaging margin of 60.6 points, with its percentage plummeting to just 52.3 per cent after the weekend.

For a young side that has already blooded three debutants and five new faces so far this campaign, the scrutiny that has come with such poor results has – at times – been overwhelming.

"We haven't deliberately tried to shield the players from it, but it has been everywhere the last few weeks. It's been pretty constant … in the papers, on TV and online," McPherson said.

"They've been really resilient. They're obviously aware of it when they come in, but they're not engaging with it. To their credit, the guys have done a really good job. Each week, they've come in looking to listen and learn about what's just happened on the weekend. They seem to reset quite quickly. The mood, considering the results, by a Tuesday of each week has been really good.

"Given the stage we're at with our development, we're really just focused on what we can do and what we can control. The outside noise, it'll look after itself. We've just got to worry about what we can do."

Daniel McPherson joined North Melbourne in 2021 in a restructured football department. Picture: nmfc.com.au

The club's first ever No.1 pick, Jason Horne-Francis, has been in the spotlight for much of the season. Seen by many as the face of North Melbourne's rebuild, the supremely talented midfielder's entire game has been in the headlines so far this year.

From being the No.1 selection, to his ongoing contract talks, to a trip home to South Australia last month, the club has been impressed with Horne-Francis' ability to put the added attention to one side and focus solely on his performances.

"He's pretty good, Jason. He's similar to the rest of them, really. He's been really resilient. He's aware of the noise, but it doesn't seem to impact him. He doesn't take much notice of it," McPherson said.

"Particularly with the stuff that's been public the last few weeks, he knew that a lot of it wasn't true. He didn't get weighed down in it at all. He wasn't concerned. He knew that what had been said was untrue, so it wasn't really an issue for him or for the rest of us."

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Horne-Francis kicks spectacular goal after smooth Goldy assist

Jason Horne-Francis gets his first for the game with a terrific finish

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North Melbourne is now in the process of bolstering its list management and recruiting team, after three members of the department – national recruiting manager Mark Finnigan, head of player personnel Glenn Luff and national recruiting officer Ben Birthisel – all quit the club last month.

For now, McPherson – as well as coach David Noble and CEO Ben Amarfio – are expected to take more active roles in the team ahead of what looms as another busy and important player movement period for the Kangaroos later this season.

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"David Noble and myself obviously are involved in the list management committee … the CEO is involved in that as well," McPherson said.

"We'll probably have to pick up a little bit more slack, given a couple of guys have left recently. But we trust (list manager) Brady Rawlings to get the job done and we're always there for a bit of support and to throw up our opinions when he wants them."